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The First Word War

Hasbara or Za’bara


AUTHOR:  Salman ABU SITTA ÓáãÇä ÇÈæ ÓÊÉ


To maintain a façade of moral code, you do not kill a friend, you kill an enemy.  You do not rob another man’s house, you recover your long-forgotten property.  These are the principles adopted in all wars and conflicts.  That is why it was always the mission of the aggressor to depict the target of killing, i.e. the enemy, as an evil, bad person or people who deserve to be defeated, and if killed, that would be a natural end for their bad behaviour. Similarly it was the mission of the occupier to claim that he is not robbing someone else but merely recovering back his property which he neglected to do for centuries.

Nobody perfected this art of deception, or double-speak, than the Zionist agents.  How else could you explain the success of a Hungarian man, like Herzl, sitting in a Vienna Café, and professing that a Jews’ State will be established in 50 years in a faraway land he had never lived in.  His success, almost solely in Europe at the time, was manifested by convincing colonial powers of the advantages of supporting his colonial project and convincing their people, the Europeans, that this conquest, killing, plunder and destitution of a people is a divine will, a miracle and a victory for western civilization.

Nobody had to create so many myths and falsehoods in their endeavours more than the Zionists.  The reason is simple: they did not have credible facts to prove their case, so they had to invent dubious alternatives, relying on the readiness of the gullible people and the opportunistic politicians to believe them.

Take the slogan: “Palestine is a land without people”. It was terra nullius, they say.  Of course, Zionists knew that people lived there and built over 1000 towns and villages, most are 2000 years old, according to Eusebius the Bishop of Caesarea (313 AD) who recorded them.  Yet Zionists submitted a map to the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, showing Palestine as ‘a grazing land for nomads’.  They presented this map to the colonial powers, particularly the British and the French.  The irony of course is that the British had finished their voluminous survey of Palestine, 40 years earlier, in 10 volumes, listing 12,000 historical sites including towns and villages, and the French finished their survey through their scholar, Victor Guerin, in 1863, who produced 8 volumes of his journey to almost every Palestinian village.  Yet they chose to believe the Zionists and hoodwinked their public to support this ‘noble and moral’ conquest, in churches, newspapers and public debates.

What then is the meaning of terra nullius?  It does not mean (to them) an empty land.  It means that those who live there do not matter, they are worthless.  It is like clearing woods from dry bushes and insects.

These are the exact words of Herzl,

“If we move into a region where there are wild animals to which Jews are not accustomed – big snakes etc. – I shall use the natives, prior to giving them employment in the transit countries [read: expulsion], for the extermination of these animals.”

 Of course he did not say this in his published book, only in his then unpublished diary.

Balfour said as much:

“… in Palestine, we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country.  Zionism [is] of profounder impact than the desires and prejudices [not the rights] of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit this ancient land.”

How was this colonial project in Palestine packaged in the diplomatic language?  In Balfour Declaration, they called it a “home” for the Jews, national at that, not a state to the exclusion of the inhabitants of the country, in Palestine, not of Palestine.  What about those inhabitants?  Of course, there is a reference to them: “without prejudice to the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”, all 92 percent of them.  A civilized afterthought indeed.

If your home and family are threatened by an unwelcome flood of (Jewish European) immigrants and you rise to fight it, you are called a “bandit”.  Your house is destroyed, your supplies are burnt, your son and father are killed or imprisoned.  That is what the British did in 1939.

Ten years later, when the Zionists depopulated 675 Palestinian towns and villages and committed over 70 massacres, during al Nakba ethnic cleansing, some people naturally tried to return home, at least to rescue an old father, to water the garden or to feed the animals left behind.  No one believed the exile would last over a couple of weeks.  These returnees were shot by Israelis on the spot.  Complaints were made to the Mixed Armistice Committee that those killed were “infiltrators”, by the very same people who “infiltrated” Palestine only a few years earlier.

Thus conventional wisdom would have it that those who waded into the shores of Palestine from a smuggler’s ship in the darkness of night are not “infiltrators”, they are the masters of the land, and the real house owners who were expelled from their homes and tried to return home are “the infiltrators”.

Twenty thousand five hundred days later this ruse is still applied.  At the time of writing, Israel issued Military Order No. 1650 (Second Amendment) in which seventy thousand Palestinians residing in the West Bank from other parts of Palestine are liable to be deported as “infiltrators”.  By the same analogy, an Italian from Napoli found living in Rome under the Nazi occupation in WWII would be liable to be deported to Albania as an “infiltrator”.  One must concede that the crime of ethnic cleansing, regularly described by the Israeli propaganda machine as “transfer of population”, has now reached new heights of sophistication.  It is now called “Prevention of Infiltration”.


Hasbara - هاسباراه-הסברה - ist just Za'bara- زعبرة


 A story is often told about Ein Haud, a lovely small village south of Haifa, with beautiful stone houses.  Its population was expelled but they managed to remain within Israel.  They built shacks on the opposite hill, looking every day at their houses, now occupied by artists from Romania who turned it into ‘artists colony”.  Their land and houses were confiscated under the Absentees Property Law of 1950.  “Absentees” mean the expelled refugees.

The logic is that the state of Israel takes over the property of those who are “absent”, because they “abandoned” their property, probably to spend their lovely exile days at the Riviera, not a refugee camp.  Hence it is the duty of a “democratic” state to take care of their property (to use, rent, utilize) for the benefit of Jews only.  This logic does not allow for the fact that they are absent because they were expelled.  If they returned, they will be shot as “infiltrators”.

The irony has no end.  If somehow the village inhabitants remained in the area conquered by Israel, they have to be counted and given IDs.  Therefore they are “present”.  But their property must be confiscated because they are “absent”.  Hence they acquired the oxymoron appellation of “present-absentees”.

Wonders never cease.  One of those “present-absentees” from Ein Haud could not bear it.  So one day he walked across to the opposite hill and knocked on the door of his house.  A Romanian artist answered.  The owner asked who he was:

-          I am Ephraim
-          Where are you from Ephraim?
-          From here of course, Ein Haud.  Why do you ask? Who are you any way?
-          I am Abu Ahmed, from Romania.

The massive ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which took place in 1948/49, the year of al Nakba (Catastrophe), unprecedented in modern history, has to have an appropriate name in the Zionist lexicon which hides its ugliness.  They called it “War of Independence”, which is precisely what the Palestinians were engaged in since Balfour’s Declaration of 1917, that is, since the betrayal of the Allies and the collusion with the Zionists to deprive them of their homeland.  This Zionist term was adopted, by Jewish immigrants who infiltrated Palestine, to describe the ethnic cleansing of the original inhabitants of Palestine.  It was widely accepted by the West.  Mercifully, cracks now started to appear in this edifice of deception. Now it is against the law in Israel to mention al Nakba. The monopoly remains exclusively for the deception.

The Green Line is often used to describe the line dividing Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) in the West Bank and Gaza.  What is this line? Why it is green?  Its proper name is the “Armistice Line of 1949”.  It is the line at which Israeli invading forces stopped in 1949, whereby 78% of Palestine was conquered.  That was a big jump from 5.5% Jewish-owned land during the Mandate and in excess of 24% over the suggested allocation of the Partition Plan.  Israel signed 4 Armistice Agreements with Arab countries.  Article 2 of these agreements states clearly that this line does not confer or deny rights to either party and has no legal meaning.  No military forces are allowed to cross it, hence the armistice.  It is simply a line separating Palestine that was occupied in 1948 from that occupied in 1967.  Israel did cross it in 1967 in violation of international law.  To obscure the legal meaning of the line and its crossing, it was dubbed by Israel as the Green Line, the colour of the pencil used by Israel on its maps.  This simple device of renaming the line enables Israel to imply in its media machine that it has not violated any law and has not conquered any land.  Thus, Netanyahu can announce boldly in CNN interviews that Jews should be able to live anywhere (in Palestine) without fear of contradiction.  Now Israel removed this line altogether from its maps.

How could you steal a whole cake and eat it?  You first steal half a cake.   With no deterrent, you steal the other half.  You eat the whole cake under the ‘principle’ that the two halves must be “unified” (in your stomach).

Israel occupied West Jerusalem in 1948 and East Jerusalem in 1967.  Israel claimed that the city must remain “unified” under its control.  The “unification” tag is meant to disguise the fact that both acts are not only illegal in view of international law, but, surprisingly, they are contrary to Israeli founding laws.

Israel’s Declaration of ‘Independence’ states that its international legitimacy, feeble as it was, rests on the Partition Plan recommendation. But this Plan never puts Jerusalem under Israel.  Israel occupied West Jerusalem, Lydda, Ramle, Galilee and parts of the south in violation of the Partition Plan.  Israel’s admission to the UN membership was conditional upon its compliance with the Partition Plan and the return of the refugees’ resolution.  It never complied.  Needless to say that the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is a clear violation of “the inadmissibility of military conquest”.  Yet the “unification of Jerusalem” is touted by Israel and AIPAC as the justification to build anywhere (for Jews only) “in Israel’s eternal capital, which is not a settlement”.

Similarly, occupation of the West Bank is labeled as “liberation of Judea and Samaria”.  The Apartheid Wall, condemned by the International Court of Justice, is named the “security fence”.  The redeployment of occupation forces is described as “withdrawal”.

Nothing can be more misleading than the withdrawal from Gaza Strip.  Israel controls its land, above it, below it and around it.  Gaza starvation has been described by Israeli officials as “putting the population on diet”, a new device for slow death designed not to make world headlines.

The real name of this tragedy is “war crimes” and “genocide” according to articles 6 and 8 of the Rome Statute of 1998 creating the International Criminal Court.  These two articles describe exactly the situation in Gaza.

The Gaza Palestinians are promised water, food and medicine and (partial?) removal of blockade if they comply with the Quartet conditions: recognizing the Israeli occupiers and ceasing the resistance to them.  Blair did not spare a media microphone without bleating into it that $ 4.5 billion are waiting to rebuild demolished Gaza if only Palestinians accept the Quartet conditions.

Blair is a patent liar.  The media believed him or acted so.   No official, no journalist, no learned ‘expert’ tells him he is lying.  Only one man.  Alvaro de Soto, the UN Mediator, in his End of Mission report, in May 2007, says in para 79, that the Quartet never imposed any conditions.  These are US and European Union conditions based on their own policies, using UN and Russia as a shield for their demands.

A familiar name on TV screens is Sderot, the Israeli settlement, the victim of kitchen pipe projectiles which broke a window and killed one person in 8 years.  Sderot mayor expresses his perennial fear of the unbelievably crowded Gaza Strip, the hotbed of terrorism, and is visited by dignitaries from European capitals and US Congress.

None of these dignitaries know, or wish to declare, that Sderot is a settlement built on the land of Najd village, whose expelled population lives mere two kilometers away in a refugee camp.  They are throwing their home-made projectiles on their own land, at its occupiers, in a symbolic gesture to assert their right for their homes in the occupied land.

Those dignitaries lament the crowded conditions in Gaza, the misery, the poverty and the hopelessness.  They shake their heads in sorrow.  The brave ones visit Gaza in a whirlwind tour of two hours, with no contact with the real people, huddled by UN relief officials, to protect them from being devoured by the hungry people.

Did any one of those distinguished visitors ask why is Gaza Strip crowded and miserable?  It is crowded because it is where the population of 247 Palestinian villages, the victims of ethnic cleansing in 1948, were crowded in an open air prison with an area of 1% of Palestine.  They are crowded at a density of 6000 persons per square kilometer whereas Sderot mayor and co. roam their land at a density of 6 persons per square kilometer.

Let them go back to their land and you will have no crowd, no poverty and no “terrorism”.  If you do not like that, give them what the Israelis have: F16 and Merkava tanks.  “Terrorism” will stop and a nice lovely war will begin.

Israel gives itself the license to destroy any village and kill its people under the rubric “pre-emptive operation”, sometimes called “retaliation”.  Under this principle, you are allowed to think that your neighbour has nasty looks and he may one day decide to kill you.  So you decide to take action at once by catching him unaware and kill him.  You do not need to see advancing tanks. You do not need any proof. Your mental mindset is enough, especially if you are a racist. That was the explanation given by Israel for the killings in Bureij camp, Qibya, Samou’ and a dozen other places.  This policy entered the language of international diplomacy as a respectable word.  You see it now splashed on the newspapers’ headlines, although it is in stark violation of the word and spirit of the UN Charter.

From the above examples, it is clear that the media manipulation and the loaded terminology are the undeclared army of the Zionists.  This kind of army cannot be pinned down by Goldstone, Dugard or Falk.  But it commits crimes just the same.

The Hasbara, fabricating Israel’s lilly-white image, is a refined art.  Its tools have been exposed recently in the Israel’s Project’s Secret Hasbara Handbook at the link:
http://www.richardsilverstein.com/tikun_olam/2009/07/10/the-israel-projects-secret-hasbara-handbook-exposed/  

 No need to elaborate.  But for those who are keen to know the facts, and they are luckily increasing in number, for those good people around the world who are guided by their moral compass and for the Palestinians of course, carriers of the burden of untold truths, for all those, the Israeli Hasbara is best described by a similar sounding Arabic word, Za’bara, which means: meaningless, convoluted loud words.

The world will be a better place, and justice will have a chance to prevail, when Hasbara is recognized as it really is: merely Za’bara. When truth shines, it expels the clouds of myths.


To see other entries of this First Word War please click here

The First Word War is an initiative by Palestine Think Tank and Tlaxcala.

The authors who wish to participate in this First Word War can send their texts to 
tlaxcala@tlaxcala.es.



Source: the author

Original article published on April 16, 2010

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Tlaxcala is the international network of translators for linguistic diversity. This article may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source and author are cited.

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